An emotional Minnesota mother announced Wednesday that she was suing her transgender 17-year-old daughter, St. Louis County, its school district and the girl’s health-care providers over a state law that allowed the teen to undergo gender reassignment procedures without parental consent.
The woman, Anmarie Calgaro, is demanding that all therapies for her child — whom she and her lawyers refer to as her “son” in the complaint — be halted until she can petition a state court.
“Not only was I robbed of the opportunity to help my son make good decisions,” Calgaro said at a news conference, “but I also feel he was robbed of a key advocate in his life, his mother.”
What complicates the case is Calgaro’s relationship with her daughter, which was described as estranged in a letter attached to the complaint. The letter, from Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, declared the teenager legally emancipated under state law in June 2015 due to “conduct by the parent in giving up control and custody of the minor.”
At that time, the teenager told Legal Aid she had been living separately from Calgaro for at least six months and was working two jobs to financially support herself while enrolled in high school and college courses. Calgaro, the teen claimed, knew where her daughter was staying but “made no attempts” to bring her home, contact her or report her as a runaway to authorities.
That, Legal Aid determined, made the teen “legally emancipated,” even though there was no court order. The designation would automatically qualify the teen for health care through social service programs, allowing her to make medical decisions — even elective ones — without parental consent.
The teen decided to begin transitioning from male to female.
“Suddenly, my son, without any notice to me, no longer was under my supervision,” Calgaro said at Wednesday’s news conference.
By January of this year, the teenager had undergone enough “appropriate, permanent clinical treatment for gender transition” that her physician at Park Nicollet Health Services, one defendant in the lawsuit, wrote a letter declaring that the teen could legally change her name.
But when the teen petitioned in court to change her name, Calgaro objected, and a St. Louis County District Court judge dismissed the application. The judge ruled that state law requires a parent to petition for a name change on behalf of a minor unless the child is legally emancipated, and until the legal question was answered, the court could not accept the application.
The suit claims that Minnesota law violates the U.S. Constitution by denying parental and due process rights.
“She is not getting her day in court,” Calgaro’s attorney, Erick Kaardal, said at the news conference.
Aside from the teen daughter, who is not named because of her age, the other defendants in the lawsuit include St. Louis County, the interim director of the St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services, nonprofit corporations Fairview Health Services and Park Nicollet Health Services and the St. Louis County District and its principal.
Calgaro is being represented by the Thomas More Society, a public interest law firm that is known for litigating cases that involve antiabortion and religious liberty causes, including representation of the man who attempted to buy human organs in an attempt to frame Planned Parenthood, reported NBC OUT, which is part of NBC News.
Advocates for LGBTQ rights and transgender youth criticized the lawsuit, the attorneys and the mother for “mis-gendering” the teenage girl by referring to her as “son” and using male pronouns.
“Purposefully mis-gendering a transgender person is an act of violence,” David Edwards, of Transforming Families, told NBC OUT. “To continually do that to your child is not only insensitive but also really harmful.”
Calgaro said during the news conference Wednesday that she doesn’t oppose her child’s gender transition.
“I just want him to slow down,” she said.
This post has been updated with a correction. The man in the Planned Parenthood case was indicted for attempting to buy human organs.
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